Understanding Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
The no-fault system of Florida law only applies to PIP coverage. PIP is an insurance coverage that is specifically designed to pay for medical bills. Florida residents are legally required to carry at least $10,000 in PIP coverage. After an accident, PIP is used to pay for the medical bills of the victims, regardless of who caused the accident. The goal of no-fault PIP is to help reduce the costs of medical expenses and the amount of legislation required after an accident.
How Fault Is Determined
Beyond PIP, Florida uses a comparative fault system in accidents. That means the courts look at the full details of the accident and assign a percentage of blame to each party.
For example, if a driver T-bones your vehicle at an intersection because they ran a red light, they are of course considered at fault for the accident. However, if you were eating lunch while you were driving, the courts may argue that you hold some of the blame. They may believe you were distracted and did not do everything you could to avoid the accident. In that case, they may assign 80% of the blame to the other driver and 20% of the blame to you.
How Fault Impacts Your Claim
Once the courts have decided the percentage of fault, that is factored into the claim. For instance, let’s say the accident caused $100,000 in damage. The courts will then deduct your fault of 20% or $20,000 from the value of the claim. That makes your final payout $80,000 for the other driver’s fault for the accident. You will still receive the full amount of PIP after an accident, regardless of who is at fault. However, the rest of the coverages will be impacted by the comparative fault system.
Why You Need An Attorney In A No-Fault State
Since Florida is not a no-fault state and just uses the no-fault system for PIP, it is important to have an attorney by your side. An attorney will help collect the evidence needed to help prove the other driver was more at fault than you were in the accident. They will also fight for you if the defendant and insurance companies try to argue against your claim. This is critical since the amount of fault assigned directly affects your compensation. If you do not get the full value of your claim, you may be left in debt from the accident, even if it was truly the other drivers’ fault.
For over 30 years, The St. Pete Lawyer, Michael Babboni, has been fighting for auto accident victims in Southwestern Florida. He knows all the Florida accident laws inside and out, including how fault really works. He will make sure that fault is assigned fairly after the accident and will fight to ensure you get the compensation you legally deserve. Give him a call at 1-727-381-9200 to schedule a free case review and learn more about how he can help protect you. We will happily walk you through the process and your legal rights..